Join Alan Demafiles for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting type, part of After Effects CC 2017 Essential Training: Editors and Post.
- [Instructor] If you're a Premier Pro user, you might have found its tools for creating text to be fairly basic, especially when it comes to animating them.^ Luckily After Effects is home to the most dynamic^ and powerful text tools available for motion graphics. Here, we'll take a look at setting up some type by exploring the character menu. In this composition I have some footage of letterpress machinery at work, and I thought^ it might make for a cool backdrop for our title.^ So we have some motion here on the left, and on the right hand side, we can reserve that to create some text.
So before we create text, let's go ahead and switch over to our layout, or our work space. We'll come over here to window, workspace, text. And that's going to open up our character and paragraph panels. And the character panel might look familiar to you it's pretty much identical to the one found in Photoshop. So if you have some experience with that, you'll feel right at home. I'm going to come over here to my text tool and I'll just click somewhere inside here on the right hand side and start typing. The name of this thing is called Creative Letterpress.
Creative, and I'm going to do a line break here, hitting return, Letterpress. And I'll click down here, to accept those changes. And you'll see here that it's color green and it's a Gill Sans font I have down here, I have the ability to set the different weights if there is any available. So let's go ahead and tweak some of this stuff out. I'll select my layer and under Gill Sans, I can tap in here and cycle through all the different fonts that are installed in my system, just by tapping up arrow^ on my keyboard.
I'll come back down to Gill Sans, I like Gill Sans. And instead of regular, let's go ahead and click in there and we'll arrow down to find, I think SemiBold is pretty solid. The green, not really feeling the green let's change up the green to one of these lighter colors like a warmer orangey color. I think there is a little bit too much spacing in-between the two lines so let's go over here to adjust our leading here, and we can certainly do auto which is doing right now but I can click down here in this menu and select a predefined leading value.
Or I can click on the value itself and just eyeball it and select it by hand. So somewhere in there that's looking pretty good. Down below it is the tracking which is going to be the spacing in-between the letters and so I think maybe just a little bit further out like that is going to do. I think I want to introduce a stroke to these letters so over here, this little icon right there I can select that and instead of that color let's go ahead and double click on it and I want to select that same color. So we'll select the fill color and instead, let's just bring down the brightness.
Se that to brightness and we can bring this down a little bit somewhere in that neighborhood. And you notice it's not much of a stroke, and that's because down here we have our stroke widths set to 0.3 so we can click here, drag it up and there is a little bit of separation from the background that's looking pretty good. Let's make sure that all fills are over all strokes if you haven't set any one of these other values such as Stroke Over all Fill, you will notice that the stroke starts to eat into the fill color So since we don't want that, I'm going to select All Fills Over All Strokes.
Down here we have the options for things like All Caps, we have Faux Bold if we wanted to, Faux Italic, so we have a lot of opportunity for creative decisions down here inside of our Character panel, as well as our Paragraph panel. Right now it's all set to left justified, if we wanted it right justified instead, we can certainly do that and it will do that around the anchor point there. I do like it left justified right now. I'm going to introduce a second layer down here for the subheading. Instead of creating it with the Type Tool up here, I'm going to right click in my timeline and go New, Text.
And here, let's go ahead and just type it out and we'll format it here after we get our type set. So let's go ahead and type in, The story behind the words and I'll hit Enter on the keyboard to kind of commit those changes, and obviously this is way too big let's go ahead and size this down somewhere in here I don't want to change the color, I just want to delete or take out the stroke altogether. So we'll hit this icon here for a new stroke color.
And instead of this warm color, I want to revert back to white, so I'll select this, set to White, there we go. And we'll take it down a weight, so we'll make it Italic. And then I think because we've done that, we can actually scale this up. Let's make sure we're inside Title-Safe. Let's enable Title-Safe here, and we have a little bit more room to play with, so let's go ahead and select these two layers and with our Selection Tool, I'm going to kind of set this over in this area. That's looking pretty good. So just by using the Character panel and the Paragraph panel, we're able to set some initial type for our title.
Let's hop over to this second composition, and as you could see, it's saying, "Well, can we use type on a path?" Well, yeah you can. It's possible. We can create a mask for our text and have the text kind of conform to that mask. Let's select our mask, and with our Pen Tool selected, I'm going to select Rotobezier here and this is going to automatically curve some stuff out for me. All I have to do is just click once, click twice down here we'll make another hill there, and there we go.
I'll switch back to my Selection Tool, and I can kind of refine how this path is going to be. Because this is a mask on here now, the type engine inside of After Effects can reference that mask. Let's go ahead and twirl this down and under path options, you'll see that we have a section here for None, this is a drop down for all of the available masks that are on the layer. I'm going to select Mask 1 and you'll notice that the type automatically conforms to our path. So because it's a mask, I can come through here and alter this path, let's click and drag it and we can really make this how we want it and conform it to any shape that we want, really.
But it doesn't stop there, we can certainly animate any of the parameters inside the path options that are now available to us. For instance, this First Margin, I'm going to click and drag this all the way off screen, and we'll start this over here. We'll set a keyframe, and I'm just going to nudge down just a little bit and get our type mostly on screen, and do a little bit of a drift somewhere out here, we'll just drift this a little bit like that, and we'll do a quick out.
Boom. It's going to shoot out. Now when we preview this, Type on a path? Yes you can! So this is a really handy way to animate some type. We were able to create a path using the Mask tools and the type itself is going to conform to that path. We can animate the path, we can animate this margin, animate the letters coming in. We can do all sorts of things, including reversing the path making it go upside down, we can not have it perpendicular. we can have all the type go up and down straight like that.
It's kind of interesting almost like a roller coaster effect. And we can force alignment, which in this case is probably not a good idea because we have all this animation here with the Margin, so we'll just leave that off. But you can start to see that After Effects really does have some powerful text tools, and we're just scratching the surface here. Much like the tools in Photoshop, the Character panel in After Effects exposes a wealth of options for formatting your text in a number of ways.
- Linking Premiere Pro and After Effects dynamically
- Navigating timeline layers
- Working with keyframes
- Precomping elements
- Animating mask reveals and tracking masks
- Creating elements with shape layers
- Animating shapes and text
- Working with Illustrator files
- Animating a logo
- Creating 3D type extrusions
- Creating a simple camera in Z-space montage
- Keying video with Keylight
- Batch rendering and Dynamic Link rendering